tv Countdown With Keith Olbermann Current January 31, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PST
which of these stories will you be talk about tomorrow. singing in the sunshine state. ♪ america, america, god shed his grace on thee ♪ >> romney serenades supporters as the polls show him ahead by a wide margin. but gingrich whistles a different tune. the polls are now closed and the results are rolling in. with analysis frommel lot spitzer "countdown" coverage of
the 2012 florida primary begins now. ♪ from sea to shining sea ♪ >> good evening, it's tuesday january 31st 220 days until the presidential election. this is our "countdown" of the florida primary. cnn, fox and msnbc have all called the florida primary for mitt romney. romney started the day leading newt gingrich, scoring double-digit leads in most of them. it looks like that's how it is going to turn out. and now with just 43% according
to the associated press, not just -- he is ahead of gingrich by 48%. last week's campaigning saw a brutal ad war. along with personal attacks from both men of course. gingrich accusing romney of being a proabortion, liar and liberal, and romney who seemed to enjoy unhinging gingrich attacked him as a washington insider with more baggage than the airlines who was forced to resign as speaker while in office. so in this hour together it will be a moving target.
we'll discuss the outcome, look at the numbers, hear from some of the candidates hopefully. and determine where we go from here. david shuster in tampa florida. on set with me for the entire hour, governor elliott spitzer good to see you. >> good to be here. whoever wins the republican primary is the republican.com knee. >> i think this is the first of many dominos to fall in the next couple of days. those outside from karl rogue on down who speak for the leadership of the republican party saying not only is he the
nominee, but also saying you are staying in this race as an act of narsisim. what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, but kind of true. he has bounced back and now trial by fire he is saying, look i'm here stronger better tested. you better be on my team. >> let's go down to tampa, florida, david shuster, that's the crowd waiting for mitt romney in the tampa convention center. good to see you tonight. it came out kind of the way he thought it was going to didn't
it? >> it did. and the exit poll revealed the secret of success for mitt romney. the two debates here really mattered according to the exit polling. four out of ten voter decided before the start of the month. they were make up their minds well before south carolina. only 25%over the voters here in florida decided in the last few days, and in south carolina where newt gingrich won, 55% decided in the last few days. two out of the three republican voters said the debates were important. and that was very significant to the romney campaign because he was convinced he turned in a very strong debate performance and newt gingrich was something off of his game. the other issue which is so
important for the romney campaign as they try to spin the victory, 45% of the voters said the electability was the number one issue for them in this race. and they had hammered newt gingrich suggesting he was too much of a lightning rod the voters decided romney is more electable in a general election and that's why they gave mitt romney the victory today. also the indicators by those who voted from absentee or voted early. there were 605,000 votes cast before the polls opened today. and of those 51% said they voted for mitt romney, 29 for newt. which is a bigger spread than i
think we're going to see tonight. doesn't that indicate that mitt romney was early with a lot of organization. >> that's right. and also he is up on the airwaves much earlier than gingrich. after new hampshire south carolina being the next stop mitt romney was already on the air here in florida and a super pac was already on the air. between mitt romney and his super pac an ad supporting him and attacking newt gingrich ran something like 13,000 different slots that they thought here in florida. newt gingrich bought 400 slots. so the intensity and frequency was all on the romney side. you have newt gingrich hammering mitt romney for only producing two years of tax returns, and
yet when the voters were asked who best understands the average voter's problems one out of three said mitt romney. only one out of four said newt gingrich. so the attacks on romney didn't have the effect that newt gingrich had thought that it would. >> now we look at new hampshire and newt gingrich's amazing swing from being 12 points down in new hampshire to 12 points ahead in south carolina, and now this swing from gingrich being up 12 points in south carolina and it looks like for losing by double digits in florida. was it the money that made the difference. mitt romney vastly outspent gingrich in florida. >> yeah, between romney and his super pac it was over $15 million in ads, compared to $3 million in gingrich.
and newt gingrich is trying to spin it that this was an election that mitt romney essentially bought. but the fact of the matter is mitt romney turned in the organization, and advertising and overall campaign that he had hoped. he started early and had a lot of the locals all across the state. in a state where organization is pretty important and it's ethnically diverse, and it's important to run the spanish language ads, and the romney campaign had that figures out, and that made something of a different today. >> david shuster on the ground in tampa, florida. david we'll be back to you a little bit later in the hour. thanks so much. governor, you are newt gingrich -- >> please don't do that to me.
[ laughter ] >> sorry about that. what are you thinking? >> he needs to put a positive spin. it may be their best argument. this was not a state that was hospitable to us. he will say look at this board right there. romney is only getting 48% of the vote. the majority of republican voters still don't want mitt romney. they are looking for somebody -- i'm not that person. no, it's not an argument that is going to persuade many people. if it were possible for a jeb bush to make that argument maybe a different dynamic. but mitt romney is now on a role. he has in the public mind won everything but south carolina. right now newt gingrich is flailing away without a meaningful argument. >> newt did say if this is going
to go on for another six to eight months he says unless romney falls out. >> you have got to love the guy's bravado. a lightly different look. and crazier ideas each time arguably tonight. but newt gingrich is done. >> this is mitt romney -- i'm sorry newt gingrich last evening going after mitt romney. i mean it's -- he's -- the question is whether or not this really sells with voters. the newt that we have seen in the last week particularly getting more and more december per rate. >> every time we nominate a moderate, we lose. you know. so 1996 we nominate a moderate
and why would anyone in the establishment think that a massachusetts moderate proabortion, progun control, pro tax increase pro gay rights why would they think he'll be able to debate barack obama. >> a little desperation in his voice? >> a little desperation. >> but he portrays romney as not just a liberal, but also a liar. >> there is unfortunately from my perspective, your perspective i think i can say that for you, a lot of venom directed towards
president obama. mitt romney will harvest those votes, and frankly it makes more sense to put somebody in the middle who can take advantage of the anti-sentiment and not be so worried about a mitt romney or rick santorum. and i think john mccain may be looking at newt gingrich saying who are you calling moderate. he views himself as a down the road straight conservative. >> one thing about florida if you take these 50 electorate votes in florida, even though they were cut in half -- convention delegates that's right. i'm sorry. that is still greater than the total of iowa new hampshire, and south carolina combined. plus florida is much more reflective of the democratics of the united states as a whole.
so looking at this is sort -- it is something they might run nationwide. it has got to mean something, i guess to the republican party. >> they are looking at the map, put aside santorum's votes, and as you said that is a pretty good cross section of the nation that mitt romney needs to win in november. so south carolina went to the right. okay. they are going to come back. that's fine. give that to newt. they are saying we are positioning ourselves very nicely to make that argument let the tea party scream and shout a little bit. but we think we can win, maybe ohio pennsylvania -- florida, pennsylvania, ohio, you have to get two of them to win in november. >> it certainly buttresses his
electability argument. >> absolutely. >> so cnn, fox, and msnbc has declared mitt romney the winner. 47% for mitt romney over 31% for newt gingrich. this big win for mitt romney in florida, what does it mean maybe for president obama in florida in november? nobody knows better than former florida congressman alan graceman.
welcome back to our coverage of the florida primary. newt gingrich's best hope tonight was to keep it under double digits. he did not succeed. now with 53% of the vote in 47% for romney, 31% for gingrich. and you can see that mitt romney has taken over the tampa convention center. his supporters there waiting for him to show. cheering the news as they see it on their tv screens. joining us now currentingly running to get his seat back again, we'll give him all of the help we can, the good alan graceson. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> what does this mean for the republican party that mitt
romney could come in with such a stunning win. >> if you want to see what a president look and sounds like you saw it during the state of the union address the other night. they both think they are liars, and maybe they are both right. >> seniors in florida went overwhelmingly for mitt romney. 46% to 32%. congressman you know this is a party that -- and mitt romney supported it -- that voted for the paul ryan plan to clearly end medicare as we know it. so is that going to present a problem for them in the fall? >> without any question. i think there is already a big
problem for them. you know, when the governor of texas is running, ron perry it seemed like he was running for president of the confederacy. when i listen to santorum, it seems like he is running for pope. they don't talk about jobs housing, education. they don't talk about healthcare. they talk about what the an fantasies are that are in the mines of the tiny fraction of people that vote in the primaries these days. >> the latest ppp poll in florida show that only 21% of republicans supported it. so let's look at the big picture here. i mean it's not just reelecting
president obama or election for the president of the united states, every house seat is up, and the control of the united states senate as well. with a mitt romney at the head of the ticket, you have been out there now, not only trying to get your own seat back but to help raise money for other democrats around the country. what are the chances of the house getting back in control particularly given that it looks like romney is the nominee? >> i guess that is true. but we have felt that way so many times before. things seemed to change so much so that from time to time it looks like somebody is winning but you really can't tell. i think they are all one scandal away from being eliminated from
the race. there will be sewer money, pac money against the president. if the election were held today, i think it would be close, but i think you'll see the democrats winning the house, senate and keeping the white house. >> we are told mitt romney is just minutes away from coming to speak to his supporters there. we will bring you that live if that's the case. that will be interesting that he is kind of rubbing newt gingrich's nose in it one more time by not waiting as candidates traditionally do. but congressman i also wanted to ask you in terms of another issue that has come up is republicans are back again with english language only as the
official language of the united states. again, given the big percentage of latino vote in florida and other key states how do you think that plays in november? >> i mentioned a week ago that only four years ago newt gingrich has said spanish is a get ghetto language. and in this case in a state that is almost a quarter spanish speaking, it is a terrible imposition. i think newt gingrich is running the most overtly racist campaign we have seen since george wallace. >> the every outspoken alan graceson. thank you so much. we'll take a quick break and hopefully come back with mitt romney on the other end in tampa, florida.
[ cheers and applause ] >> this "countdown" the florida primary, you see the crowd there at the tampa convention center. this is mitt romney's family. the famous sons and their wives. there is ann romney. we're seeing 47% for romney 32% for newt gingrich. i guess we're going to hear ann romney introduce her husband. let's listen in. >> thank you, florida! [ cheers and applause ]
>> we are so grateful to all of you for being here tonight. and how great all of you are. thank you, this is a very wonderful reception. >> we thank you! [ cheers and applause ] >> this experience of myth running for president has been ex -- extraordinary for our family -- >> we have been looking at these numbers since we got on the set. it's now 62%, it's still 47 to 32. this is locked in. it will be 15% or more. >> absolutely. it is very hard mathematically for its to shift. this is an overwhelming victory
for mitt romney. newt gingrich is sick to his stomach now. >> if newt were able to get within maybe six, seven, eight he could still say i'm still a viable candidate. can he still say that now? >> only to the true believers. he has a brood enough appeal to really challenge mitt romney and i think we're going to see the entire republican establishment coalescing around mitt romney saying we have our candidate. this is going to be a long drawn out tough fight. >> i think we cannot ignore also the significance that this is ann romney. he has been married to her for 42 years and this is sort of a
message too, isn't it to republicans about newt gingrich. >> right. not only with respect to newt gingrich but a president an democrat. this speaks to what people want to see in a family where the father or mom some day let's hope, is running for president. mitt romney is a smart guy, this is going to be a real campaign between two capable contest acts and i think mitt romney has shown he can bounce back play tough and throw a punch. >> there are a lot of tourists among -- [ cheers and applause ] . >> we may be getting close here to introducing her husband. >> now let me introduce my husband, the father of my five
sons, and father of my 16 grandchildren and the next president of the united states! [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you guys. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you. thank you. [ cheers ] >> thank you so much. thank you! to the people in this room and to the people all over florida. thank you tonight for this great victory. [ cheers and applause ] >> there are -- there are fewer -- there are fewer
candidates tonight than when the race began but three gentlemen are serious and able competitors and they are still in the race and i want to congratulate them on another hard-fought contest in this campaign. primary contests are not easy. our opponents and the other party have been watching, and they like to comfort themselves with the thought that a competitive campaign will leave us divided and week but i have news for them. a competitive primary does not divide us. it prepares us, and we will win. [ cheers and applause ] >> and when we gather back here in tampa seven months from now for our convention -- [ cheers and applause ] . >> -- ours will be a united
party with a winning ticket for america. [ cheers and applause ] . >> three years ago this week, a newly elected president obama faced the american people and said if i can't turn this economy back in three years, i will be looking at a one-term proposition, and we are here to collect [ cheers and applause ] >> and you know the results. it has been 35 months of unemployment above 8%. and under this president more americans have lost their jobs and more home foreclosures than under the administration of any other president in history. in the last ten days i met with a father who is terrified that this would be the last night his family would be able to sleep in the only home his son has known. i met seniors who thought this would be the best years of their lives, and now they are married
day-to-day about how to make ends meet. in the state of the union address the president said let's remember now how we got here. don't worry, mr. president we remember exactly how we got here. you won the election. [ cheers and applause ] >> leadership leadership is about taking responsibility not making excuses. in another era of american crisis thomas payne is reported to have said, lead follow or get out of the way. [ cheers and applause ] >> well, mr. president, you were elected to lead, you chose to follow, and now it's time for you to get out of the way. [ cheers and applause ] >> now i stand -- i stand ready to lead this party, and to lead
our nation. as a man who spent his life outside washington, i know what it is like to start a business. know how extraordinarily it is to build something from nothing. i know how government kills jobs, and yes, i know how it can help from time to time. my leadership helped build businesses from scratch. my leadership helped save the olympics from scandal and give our american athletes to make us all proud as they did. [ cheers and applause ] >> my leadership cut taxes 19 times and cashed over 800 vetoes. we balance the budget every single year, and we kept our schools first in the nation. my leader slip end the obama era and begin a new era of american prosperity. [ cheers and applause ]
[ chanting mitt ] >> this campaign -- this campaign is about more than replacing a president. it's about saving the soul of america. president obama and i have very different visions of america. president obama wants to grow government and continue to amass trillion dollar deficits. i will not just slow the growth of movement government, i will cut the spending of government. i will not just freeze government share of the total economy, i will reduce it and without raising taxes, i will finally get america to an balanced budget. [ cheers and applause ] >> president -- president
obama's view of a free economic is to send your money to his friends. my vision for a free enterprise economy is to return entrepreneurship and the genius and creativity to the american people. [ cheers and applause ] >> and one of the most personal matters of our lives, our healthcare, president obama would turn decision making over to government bureaucrats. he forced through obamacare, and i will repeal it. [ cheers and applause ] . >> you know, like his colleagues in the faculty lounge who think they know better president obama demonizes and denigrates almost every sector of our economy. i will make america the most
attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, innovators, and job creators, and unlike the other people running for president, i know how to do that because i have done it before. [ cheers and applause ] [ chanting myth ] >> president obama orders religious organizations to defy their conscious. i will overturn legislation that trample on our first freedom. [ cheers and applause ] >> president obama believes our role as leader of the world is a thing of the past. he is intent on shrinking our military capacity. i will insist on a military so powerful, no one will ever think
of challenging it. [ cheers and applause ] >> president obama has adopted a policy of appeasement and apology. i will speak out for those seeking freedom and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends around the world. >> [ cheers and applause ] >> you see, president obama wants to fundamentally transform america, and make it something perhaps you wouldn't recognize. [ booing ] >> i want to restore to america the values and principals that made us the hope of the earth and i'll do it. [ cheers and applause ] [ chanting mitt ] >> our plans -- our plans protect freedom and opportunity and our blueprint is the
constitution of the united states. [ cheers and applause ] >> together we will build an america where hope is a new job with a paycheck not a faded word on an old bumper sticker. [ cheers and applause ] >> now let me be clear, the path i lay south not one paid with ever-increasing government checks and cradle to grave insurance that government will always be the solution. if this election is a bidding war for who can promise the most goodies then i'm not your president. you have that president today. but if you want to make this election about restoring american greatness, then i hope you will join us. if you believe the disappointments of the last few
years are a detour and not our destiny, then i'm asking for your vote. [ cheers and applause ] >> i'm asking each of you to remember how special it is to be an american. i want you to remember what it was like to be hopeful and excited about the future and not to dread each new headline. i want you to remember when you spent more time dreaming about where to send your kids to college than wondering how you would make it to the next paycheck. i want you to remember when you weren't afraid to look at your retirement savings or the price at the gas pump. i want you to remember when america was the best of what we are, not the worst of what europe has become. that america is still out there. we believe in that america. we still believe in the america that is the land of opportunity, and a beacon of freedom. we believe in the america that challenges each of us to be
bigger and better than ourselves. this election let's fight for the america we love. we believe in america. thank you so much! [ cheers and applause ] >> florida, you are the best. >> mitt romney thanking his supporters. in tampa, florida, giving not so much a victory speech tonight as a acceptance speech at the tampa convention. it looks like he rapped it all up tonight. governor spitzer, i think the key phrase at the end is when mitt romney said i ask for your vote. these people have already voted. so he was really talking to the rest of the country. >> he took on president obama and dealt with his primary opponents in a cursory way, he
was gracious and then dismissive to them. a good speech geared towards november. pushed all of the buttons. didn't tell you anything about how he was going to do it. he delivered it nicely, but newt gingrich is sitting there saying i'm still here. mitt romney is saying no you are not. >> craig crawford watching the speech down in florida with us. he will join us next. now sill with 73% of the vote, up over newt gingrich by 15 points. and we haven't heard net from newt gingrich. maybe we won't. but we'll be back on "countdown."
thanking the crowd and giving what we have to say was a presidential-sounding address at any rate. at least laying out the themes he plans to run on. florida native craig crawford. craig, no bright spot for newt gingrich at all tonight, huh? >> i just heard that south carolina announced it will succeed from florida. [ laughter ] >> the really bad news for gingrich and the really good news for romney are the exit polls show that two out of three voters today self identified as tea partiers. 40% said they are very conservative. he beat gingrich by 22 points among women. the only bright side i can find
for gingrich is that they tied among evangelicals. that doesn't matter because 60% of these folks said they are not evangelicals. so that might be the only glimmer of hope for gingrich if there is one. >> the unspoken message of mitt romney's address tonight seemed to be the primary is over right? now here is what we're going to talk about it and it is all going after obama. >> i think he just launched newt gingrich to the moon tonight. the reason they tried to design a primary system is they didn't want a situation where you had a presumed nominee in february who now has to fight for media attention for the next nine
months. but you have a president with much more ability to control the news. and romney is going to have to figure out ways to get attention. >> he is also going to have to start expecting incoming fire from the obama administration. david axelrod tweeted how loving owners transport their dogs. and he put this photo on it. president obama in the presidential limousine with bo looking out the window. a not so subtle way of saying bo is not strapped on top of a car in a kennel craig. >> that's part of what i see as the psychological warfare of presidential politics. and that's what the obama folks
are going to do. i would be interested in how the governor feels about that. i think democrats should go negative early and often, and maybe right now. mitt romney is going to get a lot of media attention in defining himself. i think democrats need to define him on his own terms. a lot of americans are going to start paying attention. and this is the time to define him with lots of television ads. bill clinton did that very early, and oddly enough tied them to newt gingrich saying medicare was dying on the vine. >> yeah, don't wait until the convention to get started. it's "countdown"'s coverage of the florida primary. we're going to have guests that are very smart and very interesting, so i hope you'll tune in become part of this war room family.
let me just ask you, in -- if florida, romney outspent newt gingrich by 5 to 1. is that what made the big difference? >> i think it's a critical part of it. but i don't think it is the only part of it. i think there was sort of a winning formula that the romney people stumbled on here. and that is that romney took the lead on leveraging all sorts of attacks from newt gingrich. that was amplified with the advertising that the romney forces put on the air. but i think the key piece is the sort of opinion-shaping class of the republican party, elected officials, commentators, pundit pundits, that class was split in
two classes here. they basically ecoed everything romney was saying. the rest of them sat on their hands while gingrich basically got mugged the last week. this is a party that isn't that enthusiastic about mitt romney, but the fear the nomination of newt gingrich and don't trust him as a leader and they are not going to lift a finger to help him. so there is a strong formula for mitt romney the longer this race goes on, if it goes on at all. >> with the super pacs huntsman had is, and newt had his, and romney had hit. is this going to be the super pac election of all time? >> yeah, the big question obviously going forward now is
what the future of the gingrich super pac. if this guy decides to write another $5 million check he is till in the game. >> all right. thank you so much steve. sorry we have to run, but short on time. and i want to wrap up with governor spitzer. mitt romney is going to be the nominee, i'll just state that. >> i couldn't agree more. >> mitt romney is going to come across as a guy who can fix the economy, or is so out of touch with the average joe that he can't relate to the 99%. >> three numbers i think will determine which way this economic argument cuts. unemployment. does it continue to trend down to the president can build a sense of success?
doesn't need to be below 7.5 but a trend down. housing prices they are continuing to drop for most of the american public. if housing prices continue to drop, people feel poorer. and gas prices right now drifting down a little bit but something in the middle east could send them through the roof. that obviously is a wild-card. those three numbers form the backdrop of how we feel about this economy. >> of the whole crew we saw mitt romney was the strongest candidate of the bunch, right? >> there was never any doubt. newt is like a cat with nine lives, but you have got to believe at some point it has got to be over. >> a big night for mitt romney a disappointing night for newt gingrich. on behalf of keith and all of us